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Chamisa Hills buyer proposes new water rate deal

The businessman seeking to buy the troubled Chamisa Hills Golf Course and Country Club in Rio Rancho is asking the city to consider an alternative to the water rate increase that helped put the property on the market.

In a letter to Rio Rancho City Manager Keith Riesberg, Michael Schumacher said the rate schedule he has proposed would encourage water conservation, allow him to complete the purchase and be successful.

Chamisa Hills currently has a contract with the city to use treated wastewater for irrigation costing 47 cents per 1,000 gallons. When that contract expires in July 2014, the rate will increase to $3.28 per 1,000 gallons.

Harry Apodaca, who currently owns Chamisa Hills, has said the impending rate increase was a key factor in his decision to put the property on the market.

Schumacher has proposed a two-tier structure with a rate of $1,38 per 1,000 gallons for the first 230,000 gallons per year, and $2.51 per 1,000 gallons for any additional water consumption per year.

He based the proposal on a study of water rates in several cities, including Albuquerque, Las Cruces, El Paso, and Mesa and Chandler in Arizona.

He also gathered information on irrigation methods and water use at golf courses in the southwest.


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Under Schumacher’s proposed rate structure the annual water bill for the 27-hole, 235-acre course would be $317,000, compared with the national average cost for a 27-hole course of $160,000 per year.

City spokesman Peter Wells said Schumacher’s proposal will be considered by the Rio Rancho utilities commission on Aug. 20 and by the city council, possibly at their meeting on Aug. 28.

Schumacher’s letter said he will also have to do extensive remodeling at the Chamisa Hills club house and associated facilities, such as resurfacing tennis courts, and updated the irrigation equipment.

His budget for the project, including the property acquisition is $6.5 million.